Your Sense of Humor is Based on a Brain Limitation
October 14, 2013
The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Last week religious conservatives gathered for the Values Voters Summit, where among other things, Rand Paul decried a global war on Christianity, and Allen West took exception to CFI's Living without Religion ad campaign (video here, around the 12 minute mark or so):
When you look at the growth of secular humanism -- I was over at the McPherson Square Metro station just two days ago, and there was an advertisement that said "Millions of Americans are happy without religion." [sic] That may be true. But millions of Americans would not have enjoyed the freedoms and liberties if it weren't for people that had religion. [Crowd applauds.]
I am officially scared of Blemmyae, and so were people of the Middle Ages, apparently. (They were scared of a lot of things.)
Sam Harris considers the horrible confluence of factors that leads to events like the attack on Malala Yousafzai:
Here is my pick for the most terrifying and depressing phenomenon on earth: A smart, capable, compassionate, and honorable person grows infected with ludicrous ideas about a holy book and a waiting paradise, and then becomes capable of murdering innocent people—even children—while in a state of religious ecstasy. Needless to say, this problem is rendered all the more terrifying and depressing because so many of us deny that it even exists. - See more at: https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/no-ordinary-violence#sthash.WnickZay.dpuf
Is there a Cybertronian theology? Is Optimus Prime a Christ figure? Okay, this is a reach, but I want to plug my latest podcast, a special edition discussing Transformers: The Movie. And yeah, we do talk about those things. Also: Is Unicron the god of the Quintessons?
UK's Labour Party asks its public health spokesperson to recant her support of homeopathy.
Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry warn of the dangers of pseudoscience at NYT.
David Neff at Christianity Today reviews The Sacredness of Human Life, which "recounts the history of Christian pro-life thinking—and our [Christians'] failure to live up to it."
Some classic Fry and Laurie on a defensive psychic spoon-bender.
Climate scientists: Everything will really, really suck by about 2047.
Oh yuck: a hospital might be selling human body parts for use in magic spells, and even if it's not, the practice is not uncommon.
We may be giving up on Mars as a home for life, but hey look at this wet asteroid.
Foundation Beyond Belief raises over $65k in three months.
Pediatrician Todd Huffman lends level-headedness to the question of "natural" remedies for kids in Oregon's Register-Guard.
Vatican: Praise be to Lesus. (A relative of "Jeebus" perhaps?)
Quote of the Day
The problem with the idea that God has a human-like personality is that human personalities are nothing but weaknesses and defects that we romanticize. . . . Even your sense of humor is based on a brain limitation. As a professional humorist, I make my living by writing thoughts that the normal human brain can't process without a hiccup that triggers a laugh response. God wouldn't have a sense of humor because he always knows how the joke ends, and no idea gives him a hiccup when processing a thought. . . . If you agree that God wouldn't have a human-like personality and human-like needs and ambitions, you end up with a God who is indistinguishable from the sum of the laws of physics.
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